Technology is the place to play across all sectors and industries. Trends that have been observed in some of the startup capitals of the world have now taken route across continents and everyone is seemingly invested in finding the next greenfield opportunity or discovering a tweak of monumental value in the many verticals that exist to deliver exponential returns as measured mostly by a healthy and growing bottom-line.
There are two truths that have become apparent over the past month or so with the visible visits by the representatives of the two of the world’s largest technology companies Facebook and Google.
Great businesses can be built anywhere
Mark Zuckerberg’s visit and the silent highlight of Andela one of the companies that The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative have invested in, goes to highlight the fact that opportunity is decentralized. We have always looked towards the Silicon Valley and tried in many ways to replicate it, probably the reason why many hubs, labs and accelerators are struggling to find working models or startups straining to fit the garage mould. The belief at Andela as espoused by CEO and co-founder Jeremy Johnson and something that resonates with me is that “brilliance is equally distributed across the globe”. While Jeremy adds “but opportunity is not”, my take is that we have lots of opportunities inherent in our problems and as we sharpen the skills of our greatest resource these problems offer rich pickings. The flip side is that as these opportunities open up for us, they also open up for the rest of the world. Literally anywhere with a connection can become a hotbed of innovation.
Everyone and everything is fair game
Meir Brand, Managing Director, Google responsible for the Russian, Turkish, Middle East and African markets was in town. The second truth that arose from a fireside chat with him is that commoditization of the building blocks of possible disruptive businesses makes everyone and everything fair game. In the space of a decade we have seen the leaderboard of the world most valuable companies change from the juggernauts of manufacturing, industry and commodities to the purveyors of tech. We have seen companies maintain global dominance and market share for centuries but now agility as a way of life must become the norm for any company looking to remain relevant for over a decade. The incumbent gets dethroned and the disruptor too gets taken from the blindside in a viscous cycle. Missing a shift in technology or markets could easily send you off to the dead pool, just ask Nokia, Blackberry, MySpace and a host of others.
You never really own a market and the best you can do is be a good custodian of resources – capital, talent and knowledge to hold you in good stead when the onslaught happens.
After all, to use gaming analogy, the tech world is full of extra lives and a renaissance is possible.